6th call for project proposals

Call for proposals for the sixth round (2020) is noW open

Closing date March 27 2020


Strengthening the ecosystem-based management approach

Since the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources was first agreed in May 1980, it has been incumbent upon Members to conserve Antarctic marine living resources, whilst also allowing rational use. Under this Convention, fisheries management must therefore prevent any fishery-induced change to the marine ecosystem, or minimize the risk of any such change, that is not potentially reversible over two to three decades. Therefore, when making decisions about potential management actions, CCAMLR must take into account the state of available knowledge (see Convention text).

The commercial fishery for Antarctic krill is currently managed under a series of measures that are aimed at being precautionary. CCAMLR has initiated a programme of work that it is hoped will develop a feedback management approach, using decision rules to adjust selected activities (including for example, the distribution and level of krill catch) in response to the state of monitored indicators, while maintaining a precautionary approach and taking into account spatial and temporal ecosystem structure.

In undertaking such a programme of work, CCAMLR has recognised that there are many gaps in knowledge, but that monitored indicators might be used to: (i) provide advance warning about the potential risks of fishing and to advise on requirements for further precaution and/or focused future research and monitoring investments; (ii) adjust catch limits and the spatial distribution of catches; and (iii) characterise long-term changes in the ecosystem to facilitate strategic decision making.

AWR and research projects

The Antarctic Wildlife Research Fund (hereafter AWR) wishes to contribute to and support the work of CCAMLR so that the Antarctic krill fishery is managed in a manner consistent with the precautionary approach detailed in the Convention text. The aims of the AWR have therefore been developed to be consistent with the work of CCAMLR.

It is envisaged that any research and monitoring work supported by the AWR will build, incrementally, towards a new management approach for the krill fishery. Funded work should therefore support, rather than replace, the work of CCAMLR. In developing research proposals for consideration by the AWR, it is hoped that projects will be collaborative in nature, including between scientists from different CCAMLR Members, between scientists and krill fishing companies and between government and non-governmental scientists.

Each grant will be for a specific piece of work, and no long-term commitment to any individual or group should be assumed. The AWR is competitive and only proposals that are judged to provide excellent science and to fit the aims of the fund will be considered. Applicants should ensure that their proposals are cost effective, and cost-sharing is encouraged when possible. Where appropriate, the track record of project proponents will be taken into consideration. The inclusion of students or early career scientists is encouraged. All proposals should be presented on the official project application form.

In supporting the development of a feedback management approach for the krill fishery, the AWR wishes to fund work that will increase understanding about how the Antarctic marine ecosystem operates and how it might be characterised as a set of indicators for use by managers. Such work might involve desk or field studies to fill critical knowledge gaps or provide early warning signals about future ecological change.

As such, AWR encourages the proponents to have a prior discussion and advice from CCAMLR scientists on how the new knowledge generated from the proposed project can best inform and be utilised in CCAMLR’s ecosystem management framework. It is important that the project has clear scope for pathways to impact when developing any project proposal.

For the current round of funding USD $150 000 is available. It is unlikely that all of this amount will be awarded to a single project, though this may be possible for a particularly compelling proposal. Successful proposals might generally expect to receive in the order of USD $25,000 to USD $100,000.

Preferred research projects for 6th call

1) Krill biology and ecology to inform krill fishery management:

Studies into krill life history parameters such as growth, recruitment, reproduction, as well as understanding the effects of environmental drivers on krill biology are the key to informing parameterisation of stock assessment models to set precautionary catch limits for krill fishery.

Information on seasonal distribution and migration for various krill life stages at various scales, and connectivity of krill population between regions, and its dynamics is important for deciding upon the best spatial and temporal scale for the management.

2) Krill-Predator-Fishery Interaction:

Studies into the structure and characteristics of krill swarms and foraging behaviour of different krill predators (e.g. penguins, flying seabirds, seals and whales) and of the behaviour of the commercial krill fishery will facilitate understanding about the types of krill swarms preferred by predators and the fishery alike. Moreover, analyses of the impacts of predators and fishing operations on the structure (including shape, density, size, and depth) of krill swarms will enhance understanding about krill availability to predators. This information will potentially help inform fishing strategies that minimise impacts on krill availability to predators at local scales.

3) Supporting risk assessment framework for krill fishery management:

The commercial krill fishery is known to overlap in both space and time with natural krill predators, thereby potentially increasing the risk of disproportionate impacts on some predators. As such, CCAMLR has adopted a risk-based approach to mitigate the risk of interactions between the fishery and krill predators. CCAMLR plans to use this risk-based approach to distribute the krill interim catch limit in Subareas 48.1, 48.2, 48.3, and 48.4.

Information on the seasonal dynamics of predator abundance and their foraging behaviour is fundamental to the risk assessment framework. Improved analyses on both spatial and functional overlap of predators with the krill fishery and how they interact with krill will be extremely informative, especially for predator groups such as flying seabirds and cetaceans as information on these groups is limited. For example, understanding how long cetaceans feed in the Antarctic, before they return to their calving grounds would help improve understanding about predator demand.

4) Cutting edge science to monitor krill for fishery management:

Developing and enhancing capability and utility of newly available acoustic data through advanced technologies collected from fishing vessels, autonomous remotely operated underwater vehicles or from fixed mooring buoys will likely be useful in providing information about intra- and inter-annual changes in krill distribution and abundance. This would be particularly important in those areas preferred by the fishery.

Other novel or exciting projects, or relevant projects that take advantage of logistical assets of already funded projects, may be considered where they match closely with the aims of the AWR. Such projects should seek to inform risk assessment and the development of feedback management approaches.

General note

Applicants should give details about the proposed start and end dates of any proposal. Applicants should also provide specific dates by which outputs and products from the research will be produced. Successful proposals should preferably start as soon as possible.